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But are we ready? Marikina mayor asks

MMDA confirms metro mayors’ vote to shift to MGCQ by March

By: - Reporter / @ConsINQ
/ 03:01 PM February 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Thursday confirmed that local chief executives in the metropolis would recommend the transition to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) by March.

“MGCQ won. In fact, this is the position of the whole of Metro Manila,” MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos Jr. told reporters in a phone interview when asked about confirmation on the meeting of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) regarding the lockdown restrictions on Wednesday night.

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Abalos, however, declined to name Metro Manila mayors who voted for the least strict community quarantine.

He said most of the mayors who endorsed MGCQ felt that the economic repercussions of the pandemic were a concern.

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“Mahirap talaga kasi kung titignan mo yung observe yung binibigay ng Octa, mabigat din sa kalusugan, tapos kung titignan mo si Secretary Karl [Chua] ng NEDA [National Economic and Development Authority], nakakatakot nangyayari ngayon na maraming nagugutom,” MMDA chairman said in another press conference at the MMDA Headquarters this Thursday.

(It is difficult to decide because based on Octa records, health is at risk then Chua of Neda showed his reports which increases hunger risk of the public.)

“Siguro dahil dito tinignan nang maigi kaya ang position na ay mag-MGCQ para sagayon magkaroon ng tamang economic activity. Unti- unti, naka-calibrate pababa. Hindi from 18 [years old] to 15 and then sa susunod. At the same time may tie pa rin po sila sa kalusugan, hindi po ganun ka drastic,” he added.

(With this, the issue was thoroughly examined, which is why implementing MGCQ was opted to spur economic activity. The age restriction is gradual from 18 years old to 15 years old.)

As to the mayors who voted against the MGCQ, Abalos said they expressed concern about another widespread infection, adding that they could not afford to have another tight lockdown.

In a report to President Rodrigo Duterte, Chua said the quarantine restrictions led to losing P2.8 billion in salaries or an annual income loss of P23,000 per employee in 2020.

READ: Put PH under less restrictive MGCQ to revive economy, Neda chief advises Duterte

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‘Are we ready for MGCQ’

Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro, who revealed he voted “no” for MGCQ, said the metro mayors deferred the decision to the majority vote.

“It will be the position of the Metro Manila mayors. We might not agree. Everybody might not agree with the decision but our consensus is we will defer to the wisdom of the majority,” Teodoro said in a phone interview with INQUIRER.net.

“We are hoping that the most appropriate decision can be arrived at,” the local chief executive added.

But he still questioned whether the metropolis is prepared to ease lockdown restrictions despite the continued increase in virus infections.

“Ako okay ako ng MGCQ kailangan natin ‘yun, but the question is are we ready? Are there measures to make sure that there will be no resurgence of the Covid-19 cases,” Teodoro said.

(I am okay with MGCQ, we need that. But the question is are we ready?)

Teodoro underscored that “safe transportation system and vaccination program” are needed during the least strict quarantine status.

Zamora said he voted for GCQ to remain in Metro Manila but he said he respects the final decision of his colleagues in the metropolis. He hoped that there will be gradual reopening of the economy.

“If ever talagang matutuloy itong MGCQ sana yung age hanggang 15 muna, huwag na muna sana ang proposal na 5 years old. Kung may shift, I hope it is gradual para di kami mabigla. We need sufficient time to adjust prepare,” he said in a phone interview with Inquirer.net.

(If ever MGCQ will push through I hope the age would start at 15 not five years old. I hope it is gradual so that we won’t be surprised.)

Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco earlier disclosed in a radio interview that nine mayors were in favor of MGCQ with 15 to 65 years old allowed to go out.

In a text message to reporters, Tiangco said four voted for general community quarantine (GCQ) with 15 to 65 years old allowed out and four others voted for GCQ with 18 to 65 years old allowed to leave their residences.

“MGCQ 15-16 or GCQ 15-65, sabi ko NO so I added GCQ18-65. the final result was 9 for 15-65 MGCQ, 4 GCQ 15-65, and 4 GCQ 18-65,” Tiangco said.

So far, only Mandaluyong Mayor Menchie Abalos and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno confirmed that they voted for MGCQ while Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian; Zamora; Tiangco and Teodoro voted for GCQ.

As of Wednesday, the Philippines documented a total of 553,424 confirmed cases of Covid-19 including 512,033 recoveries and 11,557 fatalities.

EDV/ac

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